A group of 40 to 60 Black teens stormed an Oakland station where they unleashed a takeover robbery on BART trains. The robberies, which took place over the weekend, saw the teens swarm on the station after which they seized a train car, forcing passengers to hand over bags and cell phones. At least two people were left with head injuries.
The takeover robbery was the first of its kind in recent memory. Reports indicate that it occurred around 9:30 p.m. Saturday at Coliseum Station.
Police officials and witnesses reported that 40 to 60 juveniles stormed the station where they jumped the fare gates and rushed to the second-story train platform.
The doors of a Dublin-bound train car were held by some of the robbers while others streamed inside, confronting and robbing and in some cases beating riders.
Police reported that the teens committed multiple strong-arm robberies of bags and cell phones. At least two victims suffered head/facial injuries requiring medical attention.
BART spokeswomen Alicia Trost said that seven robberies had occurred with victims losing a purse, a duffel bag and five phones. Trost also reported that Six people were robbed inside the train car, with a seventh confronted on the platform.
The robbery was conducted swiftly and the teenagers managed to retreat from the station and vanish into the surrounding East Oakland neighborhood before BART officers could respond.
Police authorities held the train for about 15 minutes as authorities investigated the crime and tended to the injured.
Trost also revealed that BART is in the process of pulling all surveillance video, adding that they will share it with Oakland police, Oakland Unified School District and Oakland Housing Authority to see if they can help identify the minors.
However, the spokeswoman also indicated that the images cannot be shared publicly because the suspects appear to be minors.
BART is also consulting with Oakland police to look into other incidents that unfolded on Saturday night. Such incidents might shed light on the identity of the suspects.
There has been a series of robberies on BART trains in recent weeks. The heinous crimes have prompted the agency to increase its patrols. However, the teens unleashed a takeover robbery that was unexpected.
BART hired new police chief last week. However, the incident is likely to present a challenge. The agency has been in the process installing surveillance cameras in train cars. This comes after reports from Chronicle indicated that majority of the existing cameras are decoys. The agency has faced several challenges apart from the robberies. Such include struggles to contain fare evaders.